Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jer slept until 5:30am, when his alarm went off. Jess wasn’t so lucky — jet lag had caused her to wake up at 4:30am! We got up and Jer made breakfast for the four of us (including his two co-workers, Alex and Dawn). Jess chatted with Alex and Dawn while Jer got ready, then the three of them set off for work, and Jess crawled back into bed. In spite of some noisy neighbors, Jess managed a short nap before showered and heading out. She walked across the street to admire Sunset Beach, then grabbed her car keys and set out to explore the North Shore a bit.

Due to her previous night’s experience, Jess didn’t head off the beaten path. She drove into Haleiwa and hung out at Haleiwa Beach Park for a bit, watching little kids explore the shallows. She glimpsed a tiny crab and some little shrimp/crayfish in the crystal clear water, framed against a ridge of cloud-capped volcanic hills. Suddenly, last night’s misadventures didn’t matter so much - she was in Hawaii, after all!

Eventually, she drove to another beach (possibly Ehukai — it’s hard to tell, since there are few signs), where she chatted with an Army wife whose husband is stationed in Afghanistan. They watched some would-be surfers take lessons on the beach before heading into the mild surf. Even with small waves, there were some spectacular wipe-outs but no injuries. It was fun to watch, and some of the students caught the hang of it quickly.

Since she was starting to get hungry, Jess headed back toward Haleiwa. The traffic was a bit heavy, but she managed to find a parking spot at the North Shore Marketplace for lunch at Breakers. It was a bit pricey ($20, including tip, for fish ’n chips and lemonade), but the meal was good enough that she didn’t mind. They used big, meaty chunks of local whitefish, dipped in a batter made with local beer, served with thick-cut fries and homemade chipotle tartar sauce. Add a bottomless glass of lemonade and Jess was all set. She read her book, wrote in this journal and just enjoyed being outside.

After lunch, she headed back to the rented house to cool off. She contemplated another nap, before deciding that a walk on the beach might be the wiser choice. She wandered to the end of Sunset Beach before returning to the shade of a clump of palm trees by the lifeguard stand. It was a marvelous place to sit, reading a book, sipping a bottle of cold water and gazing out at the ocean.

Jer and his colleagues returned around 5pm, having stopped at the dive shack down the road for snorkel gear for us. We suited up and headed across the street to Sunset Beach, while Jer’s colleagues relaxed. Jer had to coax Jess into the ocean, but after the initial chill wore off it was actually quite pleasant. We swam out over the reef, admiring the large coral fields and the many brightly-colored tropical fish. After a half-hour or so, though, we had to head back to the rented house and get ready for dinner.

After a quick shower and change into nicer clothes, we all piled into Dawn’s rental car. We made a quick detour to return the snorkel gear, then drove to Turtle Bay. Jess was quite happy to be a passenger, as it gave her an opportunity to enjoy the landscape. Turtle Bay Resort was quite sprawling and seemed very nice; we all wished we’d been able to stay there, instead, but it was about three times the price of the rented house. sigh

Ola is a beachside restaurant with excellent food. While watching the sunset, we all hared an appetizer platter with kalua pig nachos, soft shell crab and ahi fishcakes; Jer also had a grilled mushroom salad and Dawn had clam chowder. We split the delicious Misoyaki Butterfish, while Dawn had shrimp risotto and Alex had a massive chicken dish. As Dawn and Alex are oenophiles, we let them choose the wines, and both the white (a pouilly fuisse) and the red (a cabernet) were excellent. Jess finished the meal with a white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake, which was especially good with the strawberry garnish!

After dinner, we came home and sat around chatting, and everyone but Jess worked on finishing off a bottle of Maker’s Mark that had been purchased at the start of the trip. (Jess can’t stand bourbon.) It was a nice ending to a nice evening, but eventually we dragged ourselves to bed.